How To Perform the Dancing Gummi Bear Demonstration

In the chemical reaction, the Gummi (Gummy) Bears dance in a flame, not with each other.
In the chemical reaction, the Gummi (Gummy) Bears dance in a flame, not with each other. Glow Images, Getty Images

Place a Gummi Bear candy into a test tube containing potassium chlorate and watch it dance amidst purple flames. This stunning demonstration is an example of a strongly product-favored reaction, plus it's a lot of fun.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: instantaneous

Here's How:

  1. Set up a large test tube over a heat source, such as a bunsen burner. Add a small amount of potassium chlorate to the test tube and heat it until it melts. The exact amount isn't important... aim for a small scoop.
  1. Using long-handled tongs, drop a Gummi Bear candy into the test tube.
  2. It's just that simple! The reaction between the sucrose in the Gummi Bears, potassium chlorate, and oxygen produces carbon dioxide, water, and potassium chloride.

Tips:

  1. Use proper safety precautions, including safety goggles and a lab coat. Be advised, the reaction is vigorous enough that the test tube may shatter. Adult supervision is required.
  2. The Instant Fire demonstration is very similar to the Dancing Gummi Bear demo.
  3. Another way to do this demonstration is to set the Gummi Bear on top of cold potassium chlorate. When you are ready to start the reaction, it can be initiated by adding a couple of drops of sulfuric acid to the contents of the test tube.

What You Need:

  • gummi bear candy
  • potassium chlorate
  • large test tube
  • ring stand
  • bunsen burner or other heat source
  • tongs